Twitter has rapidly taken over as the Number One place to get a good, solid rivalry going. More personal beef starts on Twitter than anywhere else, and it's an optimal place for MMA fighters to get noticed. Therefore, it was no surprise to see UFC Middleweight, Tim Kennedy fire the first warning shots at new arch nemesis, Michael Bisping.
Bisping, never one to shy away from a challenge, responded by quickly picking up the gauntlet that had been thrown down. It wasn't enough for Kennedy though, as evidenced by a recent interview with MMA Mania. The Austin resident feels that The Count might try to dodge the fight invitation, and further opined that he is a dirty fighter.
After reading Kennedy's comments, and the resulting Twitter battle this afternoon, I reached out to Michael to get his take on the situation. Here's what he had to say about their rivalry, the road to the title and TUF:
You know, I've never proactively created rivalries. They just seem to happen organically, which is great for the fans, because it generates interest to see the fight and it also helps to motivate me in training. It's not something I go out and choose to engage in, but sometimes people rub me the wrong way, and I'm sure I rub them the wrong way, as well. Things just tend to evolve like that.
Regarding Tim Kennedy, I've never met him, never spoken to him once, don't have any problem with him whatsoever-well, I do now-I had no problem with him at all. Then he starts calling me out on Twitter, calling me all the names under the sun, saying I'm a dirty fighter, yada yada yada. This is obviously in between mentioning that he was in the army every two seconds. So between telling us all how many people he's killed with his rifle, he's managed to squeeze in what an asshole I was.
First off, I was like, ‘Who the Hell is Tim Kennedy?' Honestly, and I'm not trying to be funny, I didn't know who he was. He carried on so much that I looked him up, and then realized he's just a guy trying to get ahead in the fight game. Good for him, everybody is trying to do that. Of course he'd jump on the old bandwagon and call me out.
I think a lot of it stems from when his T shirt company, Ranger Up, sponsored Jorge Rivera, and we had our little thing back in the day. They made these videos about me, and if you go back and look at them, Tim Kennedy is actually in those videos, all the way back then, trying to get attention. Really, what they were trying to do, Ranger Up wasn't trying to help Jorge Rivera, they were just trying to sell more T shirts. They didn't give a shit about the fact that they were making Jorge look like an absolute dick. Those videos made him come across like an asshole and they weren't even funny. He just looked like a nob-head, and all they were interested in was selling more T shirts.
Ultimately, those videos turned out to not be such a good idea, and now Tim Kennedy is trying to do the same thing. Of course Ranger Up is all over the chance to sell some T shirts. I came up through the ranks the old fashioned way, through hard work and determination. This guy just wants to jump on my bandwagon to get a bit of notoriety and try and sell a few T shirts.
Tim Kennedy being the knucklehead that he is, doesn't even realize that Ranger Up probably doesn't give a shit about him. They just want to sell some T shirts and line their own pockets. So he's calling me out left, right and center, and honestly, Tim Kennedy is beneath me as a fighter 100%, but if you make enough noise about it, eventually, I'm going to have to shut him up. Now, he's getting his own way, even though he's not somebody I would choose to fight at this point in my career.
I want to punch him in the face so bad that I'm going to do it in the Octagon professionally, and if you look at the trend of these people calling me out, it never really ends well for them. Tim Kennedy, if you've got a set of balls, call Dana White and ask for the fight, and I'll see you in the Octagon. Then you can shut the f*ck up, once and for all. How about that Bloody Elbow? Put that one in your pipe and smoke it! [Laughs heartily]
Bisping is currently ranked #4 according to the UFC rankings, while Kennedy is ranked #10, and has stated multiple times that his ultimate goal has always been to get the strap. That said, he made no bones about making a slight detour in his plans to take care of Kennedy.
I want to fight for the title in 2014. That's my real focus, but Tim Kennedy has been going on so much that I'll put that off to one side. That guy has been at it non-stop, and enough is enough. Either I whip his ass in the Octagon, or I'll end up having to be held responsible for my actions if I see him in the street. Fighting and beating Tim Kennedy isn't going to get me closer to a title shot, but on the flip side, since I'm currently taking some time to rehab my eye, it will be a nice little comeback match, because I really do believe I can beat Tim Kennedy while standing on my head. I'll still train accordingly, pick up a nice payday...it's a win-win.
He does take the opportunity to get personal, and there's not going to be any fun and games on my part. When we get in the Octagon, I'm not going to be messing around. He's bitten off way more than he can chew, and it's as simple as that. I get that he wants to get ahead, Hell, I applaud him for it, but cut out the personal bullshit. Enough is enough. If you really want the fight, call the UFC. I'm game and will be ready to go in March. Let's do it.
While Michael has been around and in the mainstream eye for quite some time, appearing on TUF both as a contestant and a coach, Tim Kennedy is just now gaining some of that exposure. When questioned if another coaching stint on TUF opposite Kennedy would interest him, Bisping was very receptive to the idea.
The advantage of doing a TUF season, certainly at the end of it, people would finally know who he was. Right now, a lot of people don't. I know to the average person, 17,000 followers is a lot, but for a UFC mainstay guy, that's not a lot. Maybe if we did a season of TUF, we could expose him for being the douchebag that he is.
Something that caught my eye, right after I hung up with Michael this afternoon, was a new tweet he posted, whereby he has christened Tim as the 'Background Guy.'
Background guy reminds me of someone trying to get noticed, perhaps a certain Tim 'background guy' Kennedy http://t.co/9wGHLmXgxX— michael (@bisping) November 25, 2013
Your move, Mr. Kennedy.
You can follow Michael via his Twitter account, @Bisping